Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels

Author
jonel
Max Output Level: -90 dBFS
  • Total Posts : 14
  • Joined: 2015/10/21 11:25:06
  • Status: offline
2018/12/15 12:08:26 (permalink)

Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels

Hi All,
   I have, what appears to me, a confusing issue with regard to input levels to my audio tracks. When I record direct input from a guitar I have to ensure that input gain is low to provide an input level of about half way on the meter. Even with that level I get a great strong output when the track is played back. Contrast this with the microphone. I have a Shure SM57 feeding into my audio interface but I have to have the input gain fairly high to ensure the input meters are about halfway. When I play back the track I have the audio of good quality but so low that I have to bump up the output gain of the track by a plugin to allow it to compete with the other tracks. I appreciate the different input levels provided be both these devices.
 
What I really need to know is this. Is this the normal characteristic of microphone inputs to Sonar. The fact that I can boost the output gain of the track is just great for me and really makes it a non issue, but I wonder if others see it differently.
 
Jonel
#1

11 Replies Related Threads

    Bristol_Jonesey
    Max Output Level: 0 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 16775
    • Joined: 2007/10/08 15:41:17
    • Location: Bristol, UK
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/15 12:39:22 (permalink)
    It is certainly normal for a low output, dynamic mic like the SM58
     
    I usually have to bump mine up to almost max to het a good signal.
     
    But you should be aware that higher you boost the gain, you are introducing more of the noise floor into your recordings
     
    You need to find a happy balance between a good signal and minimum noise

    CbB, Platinum, 64 bit throughout
    Custom built i7 3930, 32Gb RAM, 2 x 1Tb Internal HDD, 1 x 1TB system SSD (Win 7), 1 x 500Gb system SSD (Win 10), 2 x 1Tb External HDD's, Dual boot Win 7 & Win 10 64 Bit, Saffire Pro 26, ISA One, Adam P11A,
    #2
    jonel
    Max Output Level: -90 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 14
    • Joined: 2015/10/21 11:25:06
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/15 16:01:55 (permalink)
    Thanks, that's a relief. I have invested in several microphones, including condensers with their need for 48V but they all have similar requirements for the input gain. If that's the norm then I'm OK with that. I've been using the Frontier limiter to get good output results from the track and that's good enough for me. It's just that thought it might be my configuration. I've changed everything: cabling, mics, audio interface.
     
    Jonel
    #3
    Bristol_Jonesey
    Max Output Level: 0 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 16775
    • Joined: 2007/10/08 15:41:17
    • Location: Bristol, UK
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/15 17:53:00 (permalink)
    You shouldn't need quite as much gain with a condenser but as always, if you've got a good signal then you're golden
     
    Edit: this assumes you're using balanced cables throughout

    CbB, Platinum, 64 bit throughout
    Custom built i7 3930, 32Gb RAM, 2 x 1Tb Internal HDD, 1 x 1TB system SSD (Win 7), 1 x 500Gb system SSD (Win 10), 2 x 1Tb External HDD's, Dual boot Win 7 & Win 10 64 Bit, Saffire Pro 26, ISA One, Adam P11A,
    #4
    Jesse G
    Max Output Level: -32.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 4282
    • Joined: 2004/04/14 01:43:43
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/15 19:40:18 (permalink)
    Which audio I/O are you using to record your vocals?
     
     

    Peace,
    Jesse G. A fisher of men  <><
    ==============================
    Cakewalk and I are going places together!

    Cakewalk By Bandlab, Windows 10 Pro- 64 bit, Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SLI, Intel Core i5-4460 Haswell Processor, Crucial Ballistix 32 GB Ram, PNY GeForce GTX 750, Roland Octa-Capture, Mackie Big Knob, Mackie Universal Controller (MCU), KRK V4's, KRK Rockit 6, Korg TR-61 Workstation, M-Audio Code 49 MIDI keyboard controller.[/
    #5
    JonD
    Max Output Level: -39 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 3617
    • Joined: 2003/12/09 11:09:10
    • Location: East of Santa Monica
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/15 19:48:12 (permalink)
    For low output dynamic mics, get a Fethead or Cloudlifter and your problems will be over.
     
    https://www.tritonaudio.com/fethead.html
     
    https://www.cloudmicrophones.com/cloudlifter-cl-1
     

    SonarPlat/CWbBL, Win 10 Pro, i7 2600K, Asus P8Z68 Deluxe, 16GB DDR3, Radeon HD5450, TC Electronic Impact Twin, Kawai MP11 Piano, Event ALP Monitors, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro, Too Many Plugins, My lucky hat.
    #6
    jonel
    Max Output Level: -90 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 14
    • Joined: 2015/10/21 11:25:06
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/15 22:54:03 (permalink)
    I was initially using a Novation NIO 2|4 but the changed this to Roland Tri-Capture and then an M-Audio Interface. All with balanced I/O. In fact the only thing that I realised was not changed WAS the balanced cable input but this was finally changed and the result was still the same.
    So, as long as I can amplify the output then I am happy. I would be more concerned if this amplification of the output was unnecessary - its just that I have not come across anyone mentioning the need.
     
    Jonel
     
     
    #7
    Kev999
    Max Output Level: -36 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 3922
    • Joined: 2007/05/01 14:22:54
    • Location: Victoria, Australia
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/16 03:57:20 (permalink)
    jonel
    ...I have a Shure SM57 feeding into my audio interface but I have to have the input gain fairly high to ensure the input meters are about halfway. When I play back the track I have the audio of good quality but so low that I have to bump up the output gain of the track by a plugin to allow it to compete with the other tracks...

     
    It probably seems a bit surprising to a lot of people that the world's most popular mics (i.e. the SM57 & SM58) have such a low output. A Cloudlifter certainly helps, although the difference it makes is subtle and not dramatic.

    SonarPlatinum(22.11.0.111)|Mixbus32C(4.3.19)|DigitalPerformer(9.5.1)|Reaper(5.77)
    FractalDesign:DefineR5|i7-6850k@4.1GHz|16GB@2666MHz-DDR4|MSI:GamingProCarbonX99a|Matrox:M9148(x2)|UAD2solo(6.5.2)|W7Ult-x64-SP1
    Audient:iD22+ASP800|KRK:VXT6|+various-outboard-gear|+guitars&basses, etc.
    Having fun at work lately
    #8
    bitflipper
    01100010 01101001 01110100 01100110 01101100 01101
    • Total Posts : 26036
    • Joined: 2006/09/17 11:23:23
    • Location: Everett, WA USA
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/16 15:27:15 (permalink)
    The output from a guitar pickup will be higher - it can be many, many times higher - than a microphone's. In the extreme, say comparing a passive ribbon to a high-output humbucker, the difference might be 60-80 dB (guessing those numbers off the top o' my head). An SM58 has a much hotter signal than a ribbon, but it's still a tenth of a typical guitar pickup's output.
     
    As proposed above, one solution is to add an inexpensive microphone preamp to your setup. This can have added benefits, as some preamps also offer EQ and compression, making the process easier when you are both vocalist and engineer.


    All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

    My Stuff
    #9
    Jesse G
    Max Output Level: -32.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 4282
    • Joined: 2004/04/14 01:43:43
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/16 19:15:39 (permalink)
    bitflipper
     
    As proposed above, one solution is to add an inexpensive microphone preamp to your setup. This can have added benefits, as some preamps also offer EQ and compression, making the process easier when you are both vocalist and engineer.


    +1
     
    There are a few good ones for less than $300

    Peace,
    Jesse G. A fisher of men  <><
    ==============================
    Cakewalk and I are going places together!

    Cakewalk By Bandlab, Windows 10 Pro- 64 bit, Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SLI, Intel Core i5-4460 Haswell Processor, Crucial Ballistix 32 GB Ram, PNY GeForce GTX 750, Roland Octa-Capture, Mackie Big Knob, Mackie Universal Controller (MCU), KRK V4's, KRK Rockit 6, Korg TR-61 Workstation, M-Audio Code 49 MIDI keyboard controller.[/
    #10
    Cactus Music
    Max Output Level: 0 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 8424
    • Joined: 2004/02/09 21:34:04
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/16 22:05:30 (permalink)
    Being the proud owner of over a dozen SM 57, SM 58 and Beta 58's and numerous audio interfaces and mixers I will say this.
    They all seem to like the gain control at around 1'o clock on all of my mixers and most interfaces. The Beta 58 is a little hotter. I also have a lot of different mikes including condensers. I don't really find them needing more or less than the dynamics. Each is a little different but not by much. 
    If I hook up a 57 or 58 to any system and find myself going past that 1'o clock mark I always check the Pad switch is off or if the cable has gone south. It's either that or the pre amp is not made for a dynamic mike. 
     
    You don't need a cloud lifter what you really need is a proper pre amp.  
    I used to own an M audio Fast track pro and that was the worst set up I ever owned. 
     
    At the 1'o clock setting I'm just tickling the orange on the meter in any audio app including screen capture software.  

    Johnny V  
    Cakelab  
    Focusrite 6i61st - Tascam us1641. 
    3 Desktops and 3 Laptops W7 and W10
     http://www.cactusmusic.ca/
     
     
    #11
    jonel
    Max Output Level: -90 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 14
    • Joined: 2015/10/21 11:25:06
    • Status: offline
    Re: Question Regarding Microphone Audio Input Levels 2018/12/18 10:40:47 (permalink)
    Thanks to all of you for the really good informative responses. 
    #12
    Jump to:
    © 2019 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1